Mom took us to the airport at 4:30 a.m. to catch our flight out of Kansas City. (Thanks, Mom!). The kids were great traveling all day, and we finally arrived on St. Thomas and took the ferry to St. John. It was very windy and a little rainy, but fun and exciting nonetheless.
We made it to St. John, rented a jeep, went to the grocery store, and made it to our cabin. It's a little more rustic than the pictures make it out to be, but still workable (as long as the internet holds up).
We headed out bright and early to one of our favorite beaches -- a private beach owned by a woman named Vi who charges $2.50 for the day's use of the beach. We arrived to find the gate locked and the entire property surrounded by barbed wire. What?! We couldn't find any way in and the sign said the beach was closed for the season. At this point, I recalled that all beaches on St. John are public up to the high water mark. We googled it to make sure, and yes, that is indeed true. People can charge to walk through their property bordering the beach, but the beach itself is public. We decided to try to find a way in. Nathan was just climbing over a cactus and some low-slung barbed wire when a local lady asked if we needed help. I said we'd been to this beach many times before and wondered why it was closed now. Apparently this barbed wire fence is a point of real contention among locals, most of whom think it should not have been put up. She said she wouldn't recommend jumping it because "Vi's family can be very aggressive!" However, she said the very next beach over had easy public access, was just as nice a beach, and you could swim around a small rock outcropping and still get to Vi's beach via the water, which is totally legal. So that's what we did. The kids loved it -- swimming and playing in the sand for hours, and Nathan and I had a pretty good time ourselves.
Brown Bay day! I love Brown Bay, and we set out for it first thing in the morning. We drove to the trail head and then hiked about a mile to get there. The hike was a little more strenuous than I had remembered, but still very doable. (Easier than the hike to the waterfall in Tennessee, for those of you who recently went on that hike.) The kids did great, and when we arrived in Brown Bay, none of us were disappointed. The water was as clear and pristeen as I remembered, the sea grass sheltered many wonderful creatures, the conchs were plentiful, and the snorkeling was good. Eden and I collected dozens of tiny crabs and put them in the two little cups we had with us, and Z went snorkeling for the first time and loved it! We also saw a couple of sand sharks, about 2 feet long, right in the shallows, which was very cool. We were there for five hours and never saw another person.
Today Nathan dropped the kids and I off at Hanson Bay (the same beach we went to on Monday) and was going to take the morning to do a little work. We walked down the beach, Z ripped his shoes off and bounded into the water, and Eden and I sat down in the shallows. Within 30 seconds I heard Z yelp, and he had a startled look of pain on his face. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "I think I just stepped on a sea urchin." I ushered him back to shore and sure enough, there were a bunch of little black spikes embedded in the bottom of his foot! He was being very brave, but it was also clear that it didn't feel good. I immediately called Nathan and updated him on the situation. He googled what we should do, and it turns out you need to soak the foot in vinegar, which will eventually dissolve the spikes. So he set off to get some vinegar and bring it back to us, and we sat down to wait. After about 10 minutes I got a text from Nathan saying, "Tell Z he can also soak his foot in pee. For real." So I got out a little bucket and told Z to pee in it. He managed to squeeze out four drops. Eden next. She had nothing. So, mama to the rescue. Thankfully, the beach was deserted, but for the sake of modesty, I still squatted behind a beach chair as I peed into the bucket. The things you do for your kids! Z put his foot in the pee and he said it did feel better right away. After about a half hour Nathan showed up with the vinegar, and he's been soaking it on and off all day. Nathan stayed on the beach, we did some more swimming, and we saw a couple of sea turtles! The spikes in Z's foot are now almost gone, so hopefully by tomorrow he'll be as good as new. We are all wearing our shoes while we swim from now on.
|Z soaks his foot in his mother's pee|